How do you make new friends? (and I moved…)

September 2, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

I have talked about this issue with many people over the years. When you move to a new place, how do you make friends? On many social networking sites its easy to list and index all the friends you currently have. But what about the friends you don’t have yet…

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If I didn’t mention to you before, I recently moved to Austin, TX. Huh? WTF! What are you doing there? Mostly, I am getting ready for SXSW next year, kidding;) I moved here for a few reasons:

Burritos. They have more burrito places per capita than any other city in America.
Talent. UT Austin is a huge talent pool and there are not as many start-ups out here recruiting or being built.
Money. The cost of living is much cheaper. You can rent a house for $1,000 or less. Gas is $3.50 and burritos are less than $4.
Change. I am not sure how long I am staying here but every-time I have visited I have an amazing experience. I wanted to get a change of scenery from the Bay Area and be around more non-tech people.

So what does this mean?

1- Anyone can come crash / visit me whenever they want.
2- There are so many sites out there for current friends. What about ways / ideas to introduce and discover new people that you should know…
3- I am curious how people make new friends. My business partner is out here so I have him and a few people from when I have visited Austin in the past. I wanted to throw the challenge to you about how you would make new friends in a completely new town.

Some ideas I have to make new friends:

1- Join a club / group: chess, biking, bowling, table tennis / tennis. I can find them on meetup, craigslist, facebook and google searches
2- Reach out to my existing network here.
3- Go to church / synagogue. Not my ideal thing but I know my Jewish mother would be extremely happy.
4- Try dating websites? I don’t really want to date but at least those people are looking to make new friends.

What would you do?

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33 responses to “How do you make new friends? (and I moved…)

  1. Ben Bleikamp Reply

    (lets see if the list feature works in comments…if not i will build it in for you)

    community next: meet people in austin
    join a softball league or something along those lines
    be the mysterious out of towner at the local bar

    In all seriousness, I was thinking about this the other day and wondering why it is so natural for kids in kindergarten, 1st grade, etc. to simply reach out and play with each other without anyone asking questions and wondering why that does not work for adults.

  2. Silus Grok Reply

    Flatmates are a good start — if they’re not old pals from way back.

    I’m a religious man, myself, so there’s not city in America where I don’t have a ready-made set of (if not friends) acquaintances.

    Pick some hang-outs… find “your” coffee place, “your” small grocer, “your” florist, “your” bar — and then frequent them. Make friends with the staff and the owner.

    Dating sites are great for making friends, too… If you’re comfortable with it, I’d suggest signing up at a gay dating site. There are TONS of guys out there looking for camping or work-out buddies — and there’s none of the stigma of “looking for friends” on a straight site. Be witty and up-front in your profile, and you’re good to go. It helps that you’ve got a nice face.


    You’ve got a full-time gig… think of helping out at a “your” lunch place during lunch. My downstairs neighbor did this: he hired himself out for 3 days a week during lunch (two hours) at the deli downstairs. He specified that he wants to be counter help (no cleaning) — and they pay him in food. He’s having a blast and making lots of new friends.

    Have a personal card made up that you can use when socializing. Have your blog, your Flickr account, and your e-mail and mobile on it. Make use of it when you’re socializing with folks on the go.

    Host a dinner monthly dinner party — invite two or three people, and have them bring someone you don’t know (but they think you’ll like). Then, the next month, rotate one of the oldies for one of the noobs. Rinse, repeat. The only trick on this one is letting people know that you’re going to rotate them out.

    ; )

    So them’s my recommendations.

  3. kadavy Reply

    Whoa, that’s awesome! Being in the same boat right now, I can say that the tech scene isn’t a bad place to meet people, as long as you aren’t in SF. You’ll meet plenty of more normal people, I’m sure. But yeah, Meetup groups are great, but rather than joining a group, I think it’s better to start your own. My Flatmate Meetup has been a great way to get to know Chicago and meet people from outside of tech. Hey, let me know if you want to throw one in Austin!

  4. noah Reply

    why is it so awkward to go up to people and be like oh can we be friends. or “gay” to ask guys for #s just to be friends and hang out. thats why i think common activities make a lot of sense.

  5. Laura Roeder Reply

    Austin is my hometown so I feel like I should give you an official welcome, you will love it!

    I have met most of my friends in Chicago through volunteering and the wives at my SOs job which of course branches out into friends of friends. I also meet a lot of friends through my business though they tend to be “business friends”, people who I see socially but we mostly talk about business issues and ideas.

    I met the above commenter by asking on twitter if he wanted to have lunch so that is always a good way to make friends! You really just have to put yourself out there. I think its important to make it a priority and be very proactive about it or you’ll find yourself a year later with no one to talk to.

  6. Noah Kagan Reply


    you rule. i am not sure about taking a job but going to a few places very frequently is a great idea. also, the gay dating site is hella creative. good call.

    setting up a dinner could be good. i think gyms are weird places to meet people but maybe some activity group could work.

    what sites do you recommend?

  7. Will Reply

    Congrats on the move, now you are 50% closer to me in DC :-). I am planning on being at SxSW next year, so I will see you then.

    As for meeting new people, get drunk and get arrested and spend the night in jail. You will meet all kinds of interesting people in the drunk tank, you can share stories and pick up digits there 😉 Or there is always co-ed sports teams, but that too may lead to getting drunk and winding up in the tank 🙂


  8. Noah Kagan Reply

    will. long time no comment, you lurker you. i will try to be posting more content on the site. ive been in mexican jail, not in america…yet;) drunk + sports sounds like a plan to me. im saving your hug until you get here.

  9. Ben Reply

    Congrats on the big move. I’ve been wanting to move to Austin, but have been waiting until I try to get into UT Austin for an MBA program in a few years. Maybe it’ll happen sooner if I can find a job out there.

    Also, I’ve made a number of good friends off of dating sites, but those friends usually don’t merge well together going out in a group.

  10. erica Reply

    hi noah, so i totally had to write my first post for two reasons 1. b/c i have words of wisdom and 2. b/c i’ll c u in a-town.

    kudos to the person who said flatmates, not only b/c ur english? but its soo true i’ve met friends and friends of friends from my roommates i found on craigslist. but here comes the kicker…if it ever pours really bad, jump into the nearest atm kiosk, no joke, someone gave me their card in an atm kiosk and he turned out to be an actor. 2nd, find a bar that has random board games, like jenga, checkers, connect 4…..

  11. Silus Grok Reply

    Oh! … and I second — though you’ll pretty much only make friends with folks passing-thru. I’d be curious to hear how one might leverage CS into making local friends.

    On the sites: I’d avoid both and Manhunt — both are very much about the hook-up. Yahoo personals would be a good, entry-level site… and so would Connexion. Yahoo is, of course, your runofthemill dating site — which means that the hook-up vibe is practically nonexistent. Connexion pretends to be general purpose — but it’s almost entirely gay men.

    Anyway, set-up a profile on each… you’re a man looking for men as friends and/or activity partners.

    In your profile, mention that you just moved into Austin, and that a gay friend of yours (raises hand) said that there are tons of guys looking for camping buddies and workout partners on the site. You’ll get a little razzing asking whether you’re sure you’re not bi… but it’s all in good fun.

    Anyway, I’d _love_ to hear how this works for you!

  12. Juan Reply

    try to meet people who are in the same situation as you, foreigners. As they mentioned before, sharing a place (room, flat, or a hostel) would work perfectly =)

  13. Andrew Warner Reply

    Here’s something that worked for me. When I took last minute weekend trips from NY, I’d post a message on Craigs List asking where the parties were.

    In Boston, some guys invited me to a popular local bar for beer.

    In DC, I got invited to some post-college party.

    When I got to LA, I did something similar. I’d find a place I wanted to try, then post a message on Craigs List to see who wanted to try it with me.

  14. Noah Kagan Reply


    im not sure how comfortable i feel posting and meeting people through the gay website. i might give it a try but honestly not likely my first option. just being real. if you post my profile i wont complain….

    couchsurfing sounds awesome. also checked out yelp. a bit strange to just message people randomly but i like everyones ideas and i think the most important thing is to just be active, try new things, do things you love and be conscious of the people around you.

    andrew, i will try craigslist.

    erica, flatmates and activity stuff, check:)

  15. B Reply

    its always difficult in a new place. but ur friends might have friends in your city. social clubs are always fun. intermural sports for guys. Jobs/ volunteering. and if ure not afraid of the net: craigslist platonic friends.

  16. Paul Terry Walhus Reply

    1. get a copy of Slacker and Dazed and Confused and view these, for a fundamental introduction to Austin culture
    2. get on and and go to a bunch of local events
    3. hang out at Central Market and Whole Foods
    4. hang out at Barton Springs
    5. look at some of my videos from local events in Austin like the recent Mashable Summermash Camp and the socializer Laura Alter put on with Giovanni at Buffalo Billiards
    6. there are some great wifi hotspots all over town like Jo’s Coffee on S Congress and Flightpath Coffee Shop
    7. Use and search for Austin tweets
    8. join 24 Hour Fitness and start working out
    9. get set up for SXSW
    10. set up an open bar event and invite a guest speaker and a bunch of folks

  17. Zack Z Reply

    I didn’t read many of the other comments so apologies for repeating anything. If I didn’t repeat anything, does that mean I’m an OG?

    1) Go to tons of shows – Austin is a freaking music juggernaut
    2) Volunteer – particularly at a museum or galleries. While you are making different sorts of friends there, you will be able to be cultured as well
    3) Play pick up sports – great avenue to make new friends
    4) Email your favorite bands and offer them a place to stay at your house when they tour. You will be a fucking king.

    No more secrets for now.

  18. Noah Kagan Reply


    you rock! i am going to some austin social club next week. volunteer is an awesome idea. shows are good but you dont really meet people there. i went to a networking thing tonight which was fine but not my preferred way of meeting new friends. sports is a godo idea, i may try finding some people or a group of tennis players. i saw a group of runners today which was pretty swell.

  19. Todd Reply

    If you live in a neighbor hood or apartment complex, have a happy hour/open house type meet and greet.

    Put a flier on the doors or mailboxes of your neighbors, but also invite personally all you can, as it will encourage them to come and typically bring a friend.

    Get contact info of people.

    Bars are a standard place to meet people but if it ain’t broke…..

    Be friendly…… Read Dale Carnegie’s classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

    Always have a handful of interesting off hand comments to make before entering any social situation.

    Present yourself well. Smile a lot, dress well for the situation, smell good, look like you have your junk together.

    Seek out those people with similar interest….this is a duh, but I’ve known a lot of people who weren’t involved in a favorite past time because they assumed they were the only one’s interested.

    Show some confidence…’s the most important aspect of dealing with others.

  20. Mary Dang Reply

    Some famous guy once said …

    “I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stunned by this for many years. And then i realized, you just say, “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.”

    That’s what I do, and I sent you a proposal (via email).